Brett Kavanaugh, U.S. Supreme Court associate justice nominee for U.S. President Donald Trump, speaks during a Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Sept. 5, 2018. (Photo: Aaron P. Bernstein/Bloomberg) Brett Kavanaugh, U.S. Supreme Court associate justice nominee, speaks during a Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Sept. 5. (Photo: Aaron P. Bernstein/Bloomberg)

New York law professors who joined more than 2,000 others nationwide in urging the Senate to vote against Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation say the allegations against him weren’t their only reason.

“I was honestly shocked by Judge Kavanaugh’s conduct at the Sept. 27 hearing. Checking your emotions at the door is a basic part of being a good judge. He is frustrated and feels targeted for partisan reasons. It may be only human to have such thoughts. But a judge does not say the things he did, and absolutely not in a prepared statement. A person who cannot stop to think things over—he had more than ample time!—and express himself professionally is not fit for the job he currently holds, let alone the one he seeks.” —James Grimmelmann, Cornell Law School

“Like many others, I am extremely concerned about what Judge Kavanaugh’s elevation to the Supreme Court would likely to do to the legitimacy and authority of the Supreme Court. Judge Kavanaugh’s appearance before the Senate was disqualifying in terms of judicial temperament and now raises questions surrounding the legitimacy of the judiciary to all parties and nonparties, raises genuine issues about his need to recuse from many legal disputes, and reflected a complete lack of decorum.” —Susan Strum, Columbia Law School

“Although I was not surprised that Judge Kavanaugh was angry in his testimony, I was shocked and appalled by the ideological tirade against basically the entire political left and the bizarre descent into hyperpartisan conspiracy theory. My immediate reaction was, ‘Wow, he really should have had somebody besides an adoring law clerk read that.’ His claim of sole authorship of something that sounded like the worst of talk radio bloviation was deeply unsettling. I clerked for a prominent Republican judge, and I’ve never heard anything remotely like that screed from him—not in public, not in chambers, not then, and not now. It would simply never happen. I know lack of judicial temperament when I see it.” —J. Stephen Clark, Albany Law School

“If Kavanaugh is confirmed after his petulant and entitled partisan rant in front of the Senate and the people, I don’t think I will be able to teach his opinions to the next generation of students—at least without always mentioning the illegitimacy of the institution he took down with him. It isn’t like we don’t all know there are partisan lines on the Supreme Court. But we try to help our students not to be lazy and to help them see that legal arguments can overcome political ones in a wide range of cases. Having violated norms of comportment (just like the President who nominated him), Kavanaugh—if confirmed—will have stained an important office in our government that will be hard to clean up for generations to come.” —Ethan J. Leib, Fordham Law School

“Judicial temperament and impartiality are the most basic requirements for a Supreme Court appointment. Judge Kavanaugh’s disdain and disrespect for the women senators on the committee showed his bias against women very clearly. The shocking level of partisanship that he displayed in his testimony destroyed any illusion of political independence. The Supreme Court would be badly damaged if he or anyone with such obvious and seemingly uncontrolled prejudices were to be appointed.” —Ann F. Thomas, New York Law School

“Kavanaugh’s behavior, as well as the rushed and almost covert confirmation process, represents a perfect storm of reasons to reject his nomination. The professors’ letter rightly emphasized his unprecedented partisanship and lack of judicial temperament. Add to that his clear prevarications during his testimony, his involvement in receiving hacked Democratic emails, his possible involvement in post 9/11 torture, and not least the array of allegations concerning sexual assault and the result would be a justice whose presence would undermine the court’s legitimacy for decades. Were he confirmed, I would propose adding an asterisk to any 5-4 opinion in which he took part to highlight this lack of legitimacy—with apologies to Roger Maris.” —Martin S. Flaherty, Fordham Law School

“I believe that regardless of one’s political or jurisprudential orientation, and even if one is unwilling to resolve a “she says, he says” regarding the professor’s allegations, I am confident the judge lied at his confirmation hearing about matters relating to his years in the Bush Administration, the extent of his drinking when he was young, and the meaning of sexual slang and other remarks in his yearbook. Furthermore, his arrogant, entitled and, at times, hysterical words and demeanor as well as his wildly partisan statements contrast starkly with the judiciousness, impartiality and grace under pressure one has a right to demand of an aspirant to one of the highest jobs in the land.” —Vivian Berger, Columbia Law School

“Apart from demeanor, which has been raised as a significant concern based on Judge Kavanaugh’s testimony, I believe his judgment is also problematic. I also have concerns about how his nomination could impact the credibility of the institution because there is so much staunch opposition to him and disagreement about his qualifications and suitability for the high court. Shouldn’t we as a nation want to ensure that there is widespread consensus about the qualifications and suitability for our nation’s highest court? That type of consensus is lacking with this candidate.” —Angela B. Cornell, Cornell Law School

“I was shocked by Judge Kavanaugh’s opening statement—a premeditated appeal to partisan furies—and his contemptuous attitude toward the Senators who questioned him. It was the performance of someone who was prepared to damage the stature and integrity of the US Supreme Court in service of his personal ambition. The discretion and power of a Justice is checked only by the Justice’s reverence for the Supreme Court as an institution. Judge Kavanaugh showed himself to be lacking on this critical dimension.” —Jeffrey N. Gordon, Columbia Law School

“At the confirmation proceedings, Kavanaugh was utterly dishonest in how he was describing his decision-making philosophy, most glaringly his dishonesty about how his judicial philosophy would have favored the decision in Brown vs Board of Education that outlawed racial segregation. In fact, his judicial philosophy of originalism and textualism would have prevented the Court from deciding as it did and overruling the separate but equal doctrine. The allegations against him of sexual and other misconduct only added to my belief that he is an especially flawed nominee.”| —Vincent Bonventre, Albany Law School

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